How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Austin 81410
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Austin CO is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Austin dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Colorado dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Colorado dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Austin dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Colorado practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Colorado junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Austin area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Austin home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Austin area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Colorado programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Austin area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Austin area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Austin area dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Austin dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Colorado programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 81410 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Austin at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Dental School near Austin COChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.